I bought a chrome book to replace my mothers imac. On paper this seemed like a really good idea since simply put ChromeOS removes everything you don't need. it's a browser that self updates and stores stuff on line. Unfortuntatley this did not go as well as I hoped and the imac is back.
what went wrong: chromebooks can't use your existing printer unless it's one of a select few, or you have another "real" computer in the house to network a piggybacked connection off of. I see no point in expensive chromebooks because things like a Pixel are more expensive than a better macbook. But the cheap chromebooks (e.g. Acer) have unusably bad speakers and the trackpad clicks and tracking suck (super duper suck). I added a nice apple mouse to it, but for some reason chrime doesn't respond smoothely to apple mouse (I dont' see why this should be the case, but empirically that's my experience). Finally the browser was just enough different than chrome on mac that she just got all confused. Frankly to me the two are nearly indistinguishable but not to her. I figured she'd get over this after a couple weeks but somehow the mac exerience was much smoother and intuitive for her. Finally, imac screens are just awesom compared to most inexepnsive monitors. Simple things like effortless tilting and easy adjustment of brightness, along with really good font display are marks of high polish and ease of use for older folks.
So I came away chasened and with a new found regard for the Apple Human interface and polish of the little details. I now use the chromebook myself as a backup computer and to be a media viewer, because overall chrombooks are not versatile like a mac. They are just good at one thing and that's geting rid of the complications of having an OS layer just to run a browser. Every other good feature, like fast books, autoupdates, and good speed even on cheap hardware pretty much stems from that simplification.
Now what was true was that there was no app that my mother needed that required a mac. Everything she needed to do was available on the chromebook so that's a plus.
If I were doing this over again I'd buy the printer and external speakers and test out mice beforehand. My approach was to give it to here then adapt to these problems as they emerged which made the transition for her rougher than in needed to be. Perhaps the transplant would have not been rejected
FInally the biggest dissappointment for me with the chromebook is that they totally suck for linux use. The problem is the hardwired requirement to run in developer mode if you want to boot linux. The firmware offers to erase your disk if you will kindly touch the spacebar at every wake. one mistake and poof your configuration is gone. The easiest ways to install linux end up not having full network access so are crippled. and you can't change the firmware behaviour without some fairly bangersous and unspported reflashes of the firmware, sometimes involving hardware jumpers. Since I'm using this for myself, not granny, now, I'd like to just erase the chrome and go to linux totaly. But the chormebook walled garden won't allow this in any conveneinet way.